Another accused arrested in fraudulent loan app scam in Odisha

Bhubaneshwar: Another defendant has been arrested by the Economic Crimes Wing (EOW) of Odisha Police for his alleged involvement in scamming people through a fake loan mobile app.

The Odisha Police EOW arrested the accused identified as Ram Shriram Pathade, a resident of Sonam Heights in Mumbai, originating from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi.

Earlier, the police arrested Tarun Dudeja, the owner of six front companies and Mohd Javed Saifi, owner of the fake IWT India company.

The EOW also froze an amount of Rs 6.57 crore in different IWT India accounts.

After producing Pathade in a local court, the EOW brought him to Bhubaneswar to seek pre-trial detention.

He is a director of at least five companies – Mahagram Payments Private Limited, Sarsewa Simplified Innovations Limited, Mahagram Foundation, Finnovity Global Payments Private Limited and Express Digital Money Private Limited, EOW officials said.

Pathade and his associates Tarun Dudeja and Mohd Javed Saifi were involved in the trading of illegal digital lending apps like Koko and Jojo, which are not registered as non-bank financial companies under the RBI Act.

Over 1.5 lakh people including many from Odisha had downloaded the two fake loan apps.

The EOW has received more than 100 complaints from Odisha related to the illegal activities of lending apps, they said.

During the investigation, the EOW discovered that the apps were directly crediting a small loan amount ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 to customers’ bank accounts.

Once the amount is credited, within one week the customer or the borrower is asked to repay the amount with excessive interest rate.

The refusal to pay the high rate of interest, the customer concerned is humiliated in many ways.

Obscene messages and indecent images along with abusive texts are sent to his WhatsApp number as well as his contact list as a coercive measure to recover the loan amount with interest.

Police officials said the recovery process is so overbearing and humiliating that there are instances of clients committing suicide.

Police have blocked 1,058 such virtual accounts created by Mahagram Payments Private Ltd to carry out such illegal transactions.


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